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It's been almost a year.


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And it feels like yesterday. I'm my Dad's oldest daughter, I'm 52 and he was 75 when he died last December 22nd. He was dx'd August 17 2010, he hung on just over 4 months. And by hung on, I mean hung on with everything he had. He never complained, never. The most he would ever say is, I have some pain in the belly area. Which were the liver mets. He had slc extensive with brain and liver mets. He made it through 3 sessions of chemo and wbr at the same time. I felt it would be too much for him, but the dr insisted and my parents went along with, they really didn't know what those treatments involved. They truly hoped for a cure. As we all did, but I did know better. My parents lived with my husband and our son for the past 14 years, we loved living as one big family. But oh my god it was so hard those last few days, my youngest son was home from college at that time, and spent every minute with his grandfather. The last night of my Dad's life he was practically lying on the bed with my Dad, holding his hand, when he left us. I had my hand on my Dad's heart, and my other hand on his arm, when he reached both arms up in the air, reaching for, something. I whispered in his ear, and finally said, go ahead Dad, it's okay, we'll take care of Mom. I promise. He was gone shortly after that.

And now, every morning on the way to work, I relive every moment of those last few days. Giving the morphine as Hospice directed, trying to explain to the rest of my family; my mom, 2 sisters, husband and son, what was happening with my Dad. I was the other caregiver, with my Mom. And I know, he looked to me to take care of him, make sure he didn't suffer, he was terribly afraid of the pain that might come. Which luckily, I don't think ever really did.

I just keep thinking, he was so innocent in all that was happening to him. I would see him look to me when I walked into the room wherever he was, as though asking, am I ok? I'll be ok,right? And then, the look in his eyes, when I told him that night that Hospice was coming, and we thought he should stop chemo for a bit, and give his body a chance to recover, to feel better. He knew. I saw it in his eyes. But truly, the treatment was killing him. He had lost close to 70 lbs in less than 4 months, he was unable to even get up to the bathroom. He didn't at all. Ensure maybe once a day. Slept 22 of 24 hrs. I knew where we stood with the disease, and just couldn't tell anyone because my Mom was so hoping to beat it. But I had to talk to her about Hospice coming in, to help Dad FEEL better. She did finally agree. And of course my Dad went along with whatever I suggested, felt was best for him.

And now, it's December, a year later. And I see, and feel everything that happened here in our house a year ago. I can barely eat, I find I have to keep busy. Doing anything I can find to do, but I always seem to end up, standing in the entryway to our living room, where we had set up a kind of bedroom for my Dad, since he couldn't get up the stairs.

And still, a year later, I go over and over the last 3 days, every single morning on the way to work, which is a 45 min drive. Waving from his bed with the Christmas tree beside as I took a picture, waving at the black bugs he said he saw, saying what a long movie it was, which was actually Christmas songs playing on the TV, and finally, the 2nd to last night of his life, at 11pm, asking my mom and I if he could have a cup of coffee and a cigarette. And I thought, rightly it turned out, this is what he wants for his last meal. That night he suffered a mild stroke, the morning after that when we, and our hospice nurse, checked him, we discovered he had a more major stroke. At 3am the next morning he left us. All his family surrounded him and told him goodbye, we loved him, we would miss him. It's like it was yesterday!

I miss him every day. I look in his study upstairs, which we've dismantled, but I still see all of his things, I still see hm sitting at his big rolltop desk, with his oldies songs playing, calling to me to come help with a computer problem.

I know I should probably talk to someone, but I still cannot talk about it. This is life, people we love leave us, and we must go on. Terrible, unfair things happen to good people, all over the world, my mother is suffering terribly, I try to help, but who can really help a wife who has her husband of 53 years?

Thank you for letting me put all this in writing, it is cathartic in a way, and I know that everyone here suffers, and struggles, with these same things.


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Hi Terry,

I am glad that writing that out has helped, if just for the moment.

For lots of people, the one year mark is significant. I hope it marks a time when you are able to start transforming your loss, grief and sorrow into living a life full of enthusiasm, love, and faith. I'm sure your Dad would love for you and your family to be happy.

You will probably always be sad that he isn't there to see the new milestones in life - be it kids graduating, marriages, grandkids - but it really sounds like you lived a good life with him, with little to regret. That's some good loving.

And if it takes more time, don't beat yourself up. A grief counselor might help, as might sharing your feelings with others - either in a grief group, or with family. Maybe everyone is trying to hold it together for each other when a good old fashioned cry is in order. Tears and snot wash out of t-shirts pretty well. (I have to be irreverent before I sign off.)


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This is the right place to get this all out. This is the place to "say" it.

People here get it. I've been in it, looked back on it a year later. Looked back on it 5 years later. It's not an easy time losing our loved ones...it isn't.

But the blessing in this truly sounds like your dad had the most caring team around him and that you got to be part of the giver of that gift...that is love til the end.

I remember whispeing in my mom's ear at the end too... thinking of it brings tears to my eyes.

I hope this year anniversary passes as gently as possible, though I understand and remember how very hard it is.

Hang in there.

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TERRY Go outside tonight under the star swith a warm cupo of coffee or Hot Chocolate or your fave drink and Talk to your dad. Tell him everything on your mind no matter what! Yell at god for taking him and tell him how upset you are for taking your dad! Apologize afterwards cause You do not want him mad at ya!! Get everything out and off your mind. If your still troubled, Do the same thing tomorrow night.

Cheaper than therapy and I bet it will help!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read your story and there are so many similarities to what I just went through with my mother. She passed on November 27, 2011. She had lung cancer that spread to her liver, brain and bones. Yes, bones too. She got diagnosed in August and I thought we had at least a year with her.. as it turns out, it was only 4 months of watching her suffer. I wish we didn't do chemo - I think it took whatever she had and pretty much finished her off. Watching her lose her hair and about 30 lbs in a few months, was excruciating to watch. She did not want to die and was in denial almost the whole time - she was praying for a miracle and deep down, I knew God wanted to take her home. She suffered from depression and had a hard time enjoying life... and when she found out about the cancer, she said "What did I have to complain about before? I have it all!" I cried. I knew he was going to bring her home to rest and I wanted my mother here with me. She was my best friend and my hero. A single mother, she raised my brother and sister on her own and we were her world. My sibilings and I went through the exact same thing as you... caretaker... watching the pain and fear in their eyes and my mom avoiding eye contact with me because she couldn't bare to see what it was doing to us. She was trying to protect us and told us that it would be all right. She suffered so much. Thanksgiving - we had no liquid morphine to give her (hospice ordered it too late) and she couldn't swallow so she was in pain. We needed a morphine drip. Three days before she passed, she laid there in and out of conciousness and was wincing in pain. She called us each into her room to tell us that she loved us and that we all had a special bond.. my sibilings and I looked at each other as if this was it and she said "and tonight is not the night". I still smile thinking about how brave she was and how she still had her sense of humor even at the very end, while enduring so much pain. The cancer in her hips made it impossible to walk to the bathroom so we had the nurse do a catheter put in a few days before she passed. She finally got the morphine drip on Saturday and passed 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. It was just about the worse thing I ever experienced before in my life.. listening from another room for my beautiful mother to take her last breath.. was beyond words and it haunts me to this day. I wish we knew what it would be like so we could have done things differently. I know my mom's cancer was bad... perhaps they let us know just how bad so maybe we could have had her in a hospice facility and been at her bedside instead so she didn't have to suffer. i wish things went differently. I am still in shock and denial that she is gone.

I wish you peace and love this holiday season. We have 2 very special angels watching from above that want us to be happy - enjoy life!

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I am so glad you came here and wrote all of this out. It does help. My mom was 62 when she got the same dx as your Dad. She hung on for 9 months. Like you, I was her primary care giver, and the one she looked to with those eyes, searching for hope. The first year after she died was horrid for me. Like you, I hashed over and over again all of the things I did or did not do. I couldn't get certain images out of my head, and wondered if those bad images would be with me forever.

Mom has been gone now for 15 years. I don't remember when the bad memories faded, but they did. I can offer that hope to you. Now I fondly think of the good memories, and the little special things we said and did in her last year.

I wish I could give you a gentle hug and assure you that it's going to get better, but it's too soon. If there is a Gilda's Club near you, they do have Grief Support which is amazing. Otherwise perhaps your Hospice provides that? It helps to talk about it and share with others that have gone through similar experiences.


Judy in MI

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Terry, I hope the writing helped. Know that you communicated to me the most profound love for your father that I can ever imagine. You also gave me a beautiful picture of his passing with his family around and you giving him permission to leave. I have heard that story enough to know that they are people who need someone they love and trust to tell them they can go and the family will be taken care of. I hope there comes a time when the pain eases and you can begin to focus on the good times. It has happened for many on this site although even then it seems there are lapses into sorrow to be expected.

Judy in Kw

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